Like any sport, skateboarding has legendary individuals who left a significant impact on its development and made it more popular to the public. We cannot forget the great Tony Hawk, who completed insane, record-breaking rotations mid-air, and Rodney Mullen, who introduced vert skating.
But what is vert skateboarding? How is this style different from other disciplines? And can any skater ace it?
Simply put, vert is a skating style that finds the rider doing tricks from almost vertical skateboarding ramps. And yes, anyone of us can try it.
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History of Vert Skateboarding
Besides Rodney Mullen leading the way, how did vert skating start?
Vert or transition skateboarding began in 1970, years after the first skateboards entered the scene. However, with the sport still in its development stage in those early years, vert skating first happened in abandoned pools, and skaters used to call it Pool riding.
But not too long after vert skating became famous, skateparks with vert ramps and vert skateboard decks surfaced. That’s when more skaters engaged with the discipline and followed what Rodney Mullen started.
Today, more skating styles may have emerged, but vert remains a focus for many skaters who love the thrill and heights it offers.
Basic Tricks of Vert Skating
To skate vert doesn’t only mean going up and down the ramp and launching in the air. There are many skateboarding vert tricks with different skills and requirements. Let’s learn about some of them.
Pivots are one of the most fundamental parts of skateboarding. And one trick that incorporates them is a vert maneuver called Invert.
When doing an Invert, skaters approach the ramp from the transition up. Then, they reach for the toeside of the skateboard with one hand and grab the ramp’s coping with the other.
The backhand on the coping will serve as the skater’s pivoting point.
So, with the skateboard mid-air, the skater’s momentum will direct his body and board to rotate until the deck points back toward the backhand on the coping.
Skaters keep their hand on the coping until the vert is complete and they’re ready to loosen their grip.
2. Backside Smith Grind
The Backside Smith grind requires more work on the rear skateboard trucks. Like the Invert, skaters approach the ramp from the transition with enough speed. The goal is to make the rear truck sit on the coping.
So, approaching the vert ramp coping, the skater takes the skateboard’s rear trucks to the ramp’s top end in preparation for the grind.
Then, he applies more pressure on the back trucks. Subsequently, the nose lifts off the ramp, leaving the front wheels to roll parallel to the coping.
McTwist is another trick that has a resemblance to Invert. But it requires the skaters to detach from the ramp.
So, skaters tuck their heads while grabbing the front toeside of the skateboard deck as soon as they near the ramp coping.
Next, they snap the skateboard’s tail against the ramp’s wall to send them and the board into the air. The preparatory position with their heads tucked and the lead hand on the board help with this move.
The skater and his board will likely come down after a 540° rotation in the air. At this point, skaters take their hands off the board and find a way to stand on it as they descend from the ramp coping.
Perhaps, there isn’t a better illustration of the Madonna than Tony Hawk’s.
Following his instructions, skaters grab the skateboard’s nose once it nears the coping. And when it does, they kick their front foot down, with the back foot following the tail’s upward direction and the front hand still on the nose.
By then, the skater and his board have rotated 180° in the air. Upon descending, the skaters put their front foot on the nose, aim the tail to the coping, and glide down the ramp.
Most Famous Vert Skaters
Besides Rodney Mullen, who should we look up to for inspiration to do vertical skating? You may have heard of the following names.
- Danny Way
- Sandro Dias
- Andy Mac
- Bucky Lasek
- Bob Burntquist
- Tas Pappas
- Pierre-Luc Gagnon
- Shaun White
- Christian Hosoi
Perhaps, we once limited ourselves to the basics the first time we learned skateboarding because we couldn’t imagine dodging insane ramps and performing complicated tricks.
However, like Rodney Mullen, every skater spends time practicing. And that’s why we improve and gain new skills. What is vert skateboarding? It’s a popular discipline that finds skaters grinding or launching off vertical ramps.
Now that you know what it entails, are you ready to try vert skating now?
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.